Arts & Culture
2000 Readers Poll
2000 Critics Picks
Best Annual Event

Too young to remember San Francisco 1967? Eeyore's Birthday Party gives everyone a chance to experience a groovy slice of that once upon-a-time summer of love. Sing, dance, drum, chant! While Austin may be hustling to keep its place as a turn-of-the-millennium hotbed of dot-com activity, Eeyore's reminds us what the heart and soul of this city is all about.

Best Art Gallery

Drawing on respectable selections of the stars of world-renowned art has given Art on 5th its stellar reputation. Exhibits of Dr. Seuss and Andy Warhol have been the most famous works to come through, but the biannual vintage poster exhibit and sale is always popular as well. Austin artists comprise about a fourth of the collection, and modern art about half. Ever-changing, Art on 5th's newest additions await your perusal.

Ao5 Gallery
3005 S. Lamar
512/481-1111
www.ao5gallery.com

Best Author/Poet

Ooooh! Two years in a row for our woman of letters. What can't Sharon Bridgforth do? Last year's release of her first book, the bull-jean stories, put her on the few remaining maps she wasn't already on, but that and a book tour weren't enough. Our iambic activist ( - though we don't know a pentameter that can hold her down) has given writers' workshops and performed her own work in a number of venues, including "Poetic Healings," which addressed issues of abuse, breast cancer, lesbianphobia, and racism. Heck, this only begins to speak of her heritage here in Austin (We'd need a page to tell you about her legendary root wy'mn theatre company). But we will tell you this: Her latest work, con flama, is in its world premiere right now at Frontera@ Hyde Park Theatre. So stop reading, and go feel some words.

Best Choreographer

She looks like a dancer pictured on some old Spanish postage stamp - and she's just about that size, too - but this woman's work is evidence of a power-to-poundage ratio along the lines of TNT. Bravo's company is called Kinesis, which of course means movement, and you're likely to be moved to something near awe yourself, watching the wonders she creates for performers to embody onstage.

Toni Bravo
Ballet Austin Studio
3002 Guadalupe
www.balletaustin.org

Best Dance Company

Under new artistic director Stephen Mills, Ballet Austin continues to stretch its artistic muscles with a critically successful and popularly embraced combination of new works, ambitious full-staged classics, and the perennial but never stodgy Nutcracker.

Best Museum

It's a deceiving name; this place is fun for "kids of all ages." Be sure to check out the three-story slide (only if you meet the small-size requirements) and the other exhibits on the main floor, including the self-contained tornado. Coming soon: the September 23 exhibit entitled "Boing" (a closer look at springs), and don't miss "Chagall for Children," which leaves in November and features 15 pieces of Marc Chagall's artwork.

Thinkery
1830 Simond
512/469-6200
www.thinkeryaustin.org

Photo by John Anderson

Best Painter/Sculptor

If it's an Austin landmark, chances are, Mary Doerr's painted it. Doerr specializes in Austin's famous places and sites. You've probably seen one of her many takes on the UT Tower or the Texas State Capitol. Our fave is her lush portrait of Hamilton Pool. Sure, "portrait" may not be a technically correct term for labeling scenics, but in Doerr's case, it seems fitting, as somehow, she manages to catch the character of a place as well as its lines and light.

Mary Doerr
Gallery Images of Austin
4612 Burnet
www.images-austin.com/artwork1.htm

Best Stand-Up Comic

So this big guy with a baby face walks into a bar - Okay, so the big guy with the baby face is local comic Eddie Gossling, who's on the road so much that we had a hard time figuring out if he was still local. A contemporary of Austin nutters like Laura House and Johnny Hardwick, Gossling's hilariously offcolor hijinks have got him both notice and notoriety. Our readers stand up for this stand-up man.

Best Theatre Actor/Actress

It's funny that the winner in this specifically either-gendered category is this particular Joe: Mr. York has provided Austin musical stages with so many stunning cross-dressed performances that when we hear "The Drag" mentioned, the UT section of Guadalupe is sometimes the second thing we think of. But whether he's belting out show tunes in a fuschia dirndl or quietly and deeply emoting in ripped T-shirt and jeans, whether the story's camp or Kafka-esque, this leading man is one hell of a riveting performer.

Best Theatre Company

This is what you get when you mix original, edgy program choices with top-notch production values and some of the strongest talents in the city: events that can beguile, seduce, or simply clobber away whatever dullness might lurk within the typical theatregoing experience. The Rude Mechs, whose punk edutainment spectacle Lipstick Traces is about as good as theatre can get, continues to thrill with new and unusual shows at their huge Off Center headquarters.

The Off Center
2211-A Hidalgo
512/476-7833
www.rudemechs.com

Best Theatre Director

Whether it's futuristic operas, group-generated pieces, cutting edge performance art, youth summer projects, or classics with a strictly modern take, the Vortex's Bonnie Cullum nurtures them with a combination of ambition, passion, and a generous spirit that infuses all of them.

Bonnie Cullum
The Vortex
2307 Manor Rd.
www.vortexrep.org

Best Theatre Space

From live theater to classic film, world music to dance, the Paramount not only offers something for everyone, but does it up in a most stunningly sumptuous environment. Spend an evening in this space and you'll see why the theatre was originally called The Majestic.

Paramount Theatre
713 Congress
512/472-5470
www.austintheatre.org

photo by John Anderson

 
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